On Genre

Chick lit. The genre I never knew that I loved. Like romance, chick lit is a character driven genre. It’s all about the people and the journey. These are stories about women that we know—in fact women that we are or were. The women in these stories are familiar to us. They are our next door neighbors, our sisters-in-law, our bosses, or our best friends.

What makes the genre so enjoyable is our ability to relate to these characters and the circumstances of their lives. The characters in this genre encompass a wide variety of ages and live in a variety of locations. Their jobs usually stink and their past relationships make our failures look tame by comparison. More often than not this is a genre that makes us laugh and cry. Nothing grabs the heartstrings like a good piece of chick lit.

While romance is often included in this genre, it’s not the hallmark of it. These stories are more about character growth than anything, and they celebrate everything that is wacky and wonderful about the fairer sex. Readers of this genre expect to be dragged into the middle of the story through shared experiences, hapless protagonists and wonderful friendships, but what binds it all together is humor. The humor is sometimes tragic while at other times it’s over-the-top, yet it’s always as seamless and familiar as laughing with friends over your neighbor’s bad boob job.

To write a book in this genre, it is necessary to connect with those silly moments in your past that you’d prefer to forget. In every piece of chick lit is a portion of the author’s life—embarrassing though it may be. The author shares with her readership her friends and her fantasies and spills her very heart upon the pages. More any other genre chick lit is a personal accounting of all things familiar to the shared experience of womanhood. It is a celebration of our lives, our heartbreaks, and our friendships.  Chick lit reminds us why it is an honor to be a woman, why our friends are the best and most constant thing to ever happen to us, and why we keep getting up each morning to face another day. It’s real. And what’s more, it’s a genre that expresses why our lives should be fearlessly experienced, laughed at, and never taken for granted.

So go ahead, take off the gloves. Dig deep. Write that story that weaves your life experiences with those of your characters. Linger over dialogue. Relate the mundane and relatable portions of life.  Share that story about the time your brother-in-law slept walked naked. Invite your readers to laugh at you, your family, and your friends. Allow them to commiserate with you over ne’er do well boyfriends and scream at catty co-workers and moron bosses. Give them hope that life has purpose and all roads, no matter how broken and convoluted, lead us to wonderful places we never expected. Through your words, women will be encouraged, learn to take themselves less seriously, and perhaps find the courage they need to heal a relationship or move into a new and exciting stage of their life.

I don’t know about you, but I think I need to go read something. J


Do you love chick lit and women’s fiction? Share with us your favorite authors and books.

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